The mainstream test for SIBO infection involves a breath analysis for both methane and hydrogen signals of overgrowth.
Interestingly, due to the concern that many people are misdiagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), researchers are recommending that anyone who is experiencing chronic symptoms of bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea should be tested for SIBO. This stresses just how far we have come in recognising that SIBO is a major factor in digestive illness, and is more likely to be the cause of unpleasant symptoms than IBS!
Unfortunately the most cost effective, easiest, non-invasive way to be tested is quite complicated.
The SIBO Breath Test
First of all, you will want to choose a testing center that tests for both the presence of hydrogen and methane. Once you have done so, your doctor or the testing center itself will provide you with specific instructions as to how they want you to be prepared for the test. It is important that you follow their directions carefully to optimize the accuracy of your results. Here are some guidelines that are likely to be recommended to you:
- One month before: Do not use any colon cleansing products.
- Two weeks before: Do not take any antibiotics or probiotics.
- One week before: Do not use any laxatives, fiber supplements or stool softners.
- 48 hours before: Avoid high carbohydrate meals and snacks, particularly whole grain breads or pastas. You can eat broiled fish or chicken, white bread or rice, potatoes, and coffee and tea. If you are taking a medication for GERD, discuss whether or not you should continue to take the medicine in the days leading up to the test. Typically it is recommended that you discontinue the use of any prokinetic medications, but that you can continue with a PPI medication.
- 12 hours before: Do not eat or drink anything. This includes gum and candy. If you are a smoker do not smoke. Do not exercise, as exercise can throw off test results.
What to Expect When Undergoing the SIBO Breath Test
When the test starts, you may be asked to rinse your mouth with mouthwash to clear the area of any bacteria that may be present. You will then be asked to give a baseline breath sample, typically by blowing up a balloon. You will then be asked to drink a small amount of liquid containing either glucose or lactulose.
Every 15 minutes you will be asked to provide another breath sample by blowing up a balloon. If the sample liquid contains glucose, you can expect the test to last for two hours. If the sample liquid is lactulose, you can expect the test to last three hours.
As you can imagine this all can be very inconvenient and expensive to do.
This is why often it is simply recommended to do a medicinal trial.
This is exactly as it sounds - take the medicines and see if you improve! Yes, this is a standard SIBO diagnosis tool! What better way to test and hopefully cure at same time than to use natural herbal medications to eradicate any overgrowth!
We have teamed up with Candida Labs who produce an extensive range of gut health and general well being supplements and cleanses to bring you alternative solutions for treatment of SIBO and other conditions.